Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fuel Leaks Prompt Store Chain Audit

By: Nathan Lamb

A pair of fuel leaks has proved costly for a Maryland-based convenience store chain, according to this story in the Baltimore Sun.

Royal Farms, which owns 70 stores across the region, recently reached a settlement with environmental officials that includes a $600,000 penalty and a comprehensive audit of the company’s underground fuel tanks and piping.

The settlement came after the Maryland Department of the Environment made it clear they were pursuing enforcement actions over two leaks that impacted residential homes.

The first was discovered in 2009, after a Rosedale home reported a gasoline smell. An investigation determined 5,400 gallons of fuel had spilled from the underground Royal Farms tank nearby. Royal Farms paid $2.7 million to settle the family’s case, and is pursuing litigation against the firm it hired to oversee the underground tanks.

Gasoline contamination was also discovered in five residential wells in the town of North East in 2011. Royal Farms is currently remediating the groundwater, and carbon filters were provided for some wells.

In both cases, environmental officials said the company wasn’t properly using state mandated equipment that detects fuel leaks. Installing and maintaining that equipment was a condition of the settlement.

A Royal Farms spokesperson said the company was not contesting the state’s accusations, but added the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing.


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